Interview : Neal looking for turbo boost
Tue 29th March 2011 Matt Neal was in pipped at the post in the race for the 2010 BTCC title. This year, with a new engine, he's confident of being in contention once again.
By Matt Lamprell
The Honda Racing Team won more races than any other team in the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, with five apiece for Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden. However, they had to settle for second and third respectively in the championship, behind Jason Plato.
In 2011, the Team Dynamics-run outfit has opted to switch to an NGTC-specification turbo engine, built by long-time partner, Neil Brown.
Double BTCC champion Matt Neal is convinced that the new engine, along with a number of chassis and setup tweaks, will make the Hondas a force to be reckoned with in 2011.
"Our car was a little bit late getting to the track, but I'm pretty excited", said Neal. "I think we've got a pretty good car under us.
"The chassis was always an equal with the Chevy last year for the best handling car out there. Now we've got Neil Brown who has done an amazing job over the winter and we seem to have a great engine under us, too."
The Honda Civics will join the Team Aon and Airwaves Racing Fords, as well as the Pirtek Racing and Triple Eight Vauxhalls as S2000/NGTC hybrids on the grid this year. Neal is hoping to benefit from the experience gained by their rivals last year.
"The Ford was running the turbo engine last year and we tried to work out what its Achilles heel was. It was traction getting out of the slow corners, so we’ve been working very hard over the winter with the diffs and the dampers to try and maximise our traction out of the corners.
"I think we've come up with some wondrous results and the whole package looks very, very exciting for the year ahead."